Jury assessment: The project brings forward ideas that are appropriate for the discussion of the project site, the larger Forus area and the region. The competitors are not proposing a final result, but a process linked to a comprehensive new urban model based on participation of many actors, considering social, cultural, economic and environmental development.
The process is referred to as a “middle-out” experimental process where public participation and executive decisions intermingle in the laboratory – the Foruslab. The pilot plot as a testing ground is described in a multilayered design strategy that illustrates both reappropriation of existing structures, the use of the plot as a supersurface, and implementation of new structures. On a conurban level the project proposes clusters along an innovation axis, visually linked throughout the landscape with the use of large identifiable post-oil structures.
The jury believes that the Laboratory is an interesting process-based design management approach, whether it is a physical laboratory as shown, or not. The architects show great understanding of the complexity of the task, and all the three levels of the project – the project site, the area and the region – are interesting and thoughtfully represented. The jury is impressed with the amount of ideas and richness in the proposal, the references in relation to the academic framework and the analysis of the Forus site.
The strategy on area level focuses on nodes, identified in crossings and corners, and propose reuse of vacant spaces along the new east–west axis. The jury believes this could become an operative principle for Forus. The idea that each node is marked with large-scale infrastructural icons taken from disused oil rigs makes the project also a territorial strategy that operates on the level of the landscape.
Ivan Capdevila (ES)
Vicente Iborra (ES)
Jose Antonio Gras Ìñigo (ES)
Simona Miron (RO)
Runner Up: Rise of Nature
Jury assessment: Rise of Nature puts emphasis on the regional scale and how to position Forus in this context. The project proposes to articulate a clear distinction between the north-south axis and the east-west axis. The north-south axis, called the urban axis, is to be densified and planned as such, while development along the east-west or green axis is dominated by slow processes, agriculture and greenery. The two axes have different experiential qualities which are expressed through the introduction of six parks with distinct identities and regional importance using smaller, ephemeral elements and interventions.
The strength of the proposal lies in its extension of the territory of the site and its understanding of the plot as a part of a larger regional strategy which seems viable independent of any other future development of the Forus site. ‘Rise of Nature’ shifts the focus away from traditional development towards careful cultivation and definitions of existing qualities. Whilst suggestions for regional and urban scale pose interesting and critical questions for the overall development of Forus, the illustrated solution for the project site comes across as formalistic and almost contradictory to the rest of the overall ideas discussed in the project. The jury finds the idea of defining multipolar existing settlements in parks interesting, but is not convinced this will lead to a better or more sustainable future for Forus. An intriguing aspect of the project is that it is extremely realistic and utopian at the same time.
Dace Gurecka (LV)
Special mention: Indigo
Jury assessment: The jury describes Indigo as a manifesto project that deals with the reuse of existing landscape and resources. The resources are defined both as technology/know-how, and natural and human resources. The project is concerned with a development strategy where reducing and redefining are tools to create a sustainable environment and less urban sprawl. The authors believe in a diversification of industries and functions, but suggest that they be clustered in high density nodes leaving more landscape undeveloped. This creates an opportunity to re-naturalize larger landscapes such as the drained lake upon parts of which Forus was initially built. Key to the project, and suggested as a first step in the reconsidering of Forus, is the set-up of a ‘Central plant’ meant to function as an open forum for discussions on future urbanism through participatory processes.
Indigo tells its story through a narrative where natural resources are being recovered. This is emblematic in the powerfully illustrated story about “the lost lake” which is potentially a very strong driver of change but could have been brought into focus and discussed more rigorously since its imagery presents a much more interesting proposition than many of the more literal reuses of post-petroleum-age. The jury also believes that the image of the lost lake is a much more interesting provocation than the images of the literal reuse of post-petroleum structure or the less attractive central plant. The jury believes that “the lost lake” can create a landscape of change in Jæren.
Miguel Zaballa (ES)